CCR is thrilled to have a workshop, Letters from Detention: Performance & Talk-Back, at MOVE 2017, the first-of-its-kind national gathering that will provide space for artists, activists, scholars, philanthropists, organizations and others from the Arab American community to connect, learn and exchange ideas. MOVE will take place in Dearborn, Michigan, from November 16-18, and you can visit the conference website for the full schedule and registration information.
CCR advocacy program manager Aliya Hussain will moderate a conversation with CCR Senior Staff Attorney Rachel Meeropol and Dr. Maha Hilal, the Michael Ratner fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies, following a performance of Letters from Detention, a moving theatrical event written and directed by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen (authors of The Exonerated and Aftermath). It will be performed by local artist and performers, Samer Ajluni, Costa Kazaleh-Sirdenis, and Kamelya Youssef, with Sherrine Azab directing.
Letters from Detention was adapted from a series of letters exchanged between Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) clients Yasser Ebrahim and Hany Ibrahim, two brothers held as suspected terrorists on separate floors of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for months after 9/11. In 2002, CCR filed a case on behalf of them and other Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men who were rounded up, detained in brutal conditions of confinement and abused for months, without evidence of any ties to terrorism, but rather based only on their race, religion, ethnicity, and immigration status. The case, Ziglar v. Abbasi, was argued at the Supreme Court on January 18, just days before Donald Trump came into office. In June, the Court issued a decision shielding high-level officials from personal accountability when they violate the Constitution in the name of “national security.”
Fifteen years after Yasser and Hany’s harrowing ordeal, we are still confronted with the question: what does accountability look like when the courts look the other way? How do we protect the rights of MASA communities and immigrants, and what lessons have we learned from post-9/11 litigation and advocacy that can help us fight new threats?